SECRET IN THEIR EYES – A Review by John Strange

By: John ‘Doc’ Strange
The story of Secret in Their Eyes begins in early 2002.  Following the NY attacks the previous September, the City of Los Angeles is thought to be the next target.  Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has been loaned to the LA D.A.’s Counter Terrorism Unit.  He joins fellow investigators Jess Cobb (Julia Roberts), Bumpy Willis (Dean Norris), and Reg Siefert (Michael Kelly) plus their Assistant D.A boss, Claire (Nicole Kidman).
Their major assignment is watching a masque suspected of harboring potential terrorists.  Then they get a call to investigate a homicide in a garage near the masque.  When Ray looks into the dumpster at the victim, he orders everyone away from the immediate area.  He walks over to Jess and breaks the news to her; the body is her daughter, Carolyn (Zoe Graham).  Jess totally breaks down and jumps into the dumpster to hold her child while bawling her eyes out. 
The story jumps forward 13 years.  Ray is no longer with the FBI.  He is head of security for the NY Mets.  In his off time he scans through the photos of people getting out of prison on the chance that their suspect might have disappeared by doing time.  When he thinks he has found his man, he returns to LA to see Jess.
The story drops back to 2002.  You have to keep your eyes and ears open to follow this story.  There are hidden layers here that slowly reveal themselves as we see pieces of the search back in 2002.  Ray and the team put everything into finding the “perp” despite the DA ordering them to allow the homicide squad to do its job. 
The team soon determines that the man they are looking for is named Marzin.  This is where they really begin running into roadblocks.  For some reason, the District Attorney, Martin Morales (Alfred Molina), seems to be deflecting their investigation.  Eventually, they find out that their man is the confidential informant working inside the masque is the same man as their suspect.  The team does their best to find Marzin but they never find him.
The action returns to present day as Ray with the assistance of Bumpy searches for the man might possibly be the murderer he has looked for all of these years.  The characters in this story are strong and richly deep.  This story wraps around you like a blanket and seems ready to unravel into the conclusion you expect at any moment.  I can tell you without reservation that the ending will sneak in and slap you in the face.  As you reel from the blow you will also be thinking to yourself, YES!
Mothers, this is going to be a tough watch for you.  Heck, it was a tough watch for me.  Julia Roberts’ portrayal of the mother who loses her daughter in such a way is Oscar-worthy.  The supporting players in this story take Secret in Their Eyes the rest of the way into strong awards contention in my eyes.
Directed (and Written) by: Billy Ray
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material involving disturbing violent content, language and some sexual references)
Selig Rating: Full Price
Runtime: 111 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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